Celebrating Jane Austen’s birthday with My Jane Austen Book Club

Austen_vert_compl02I was thrilled to be asked to contribute to My Jane Austen Book Club‘s celebration of Jane Austen’s birthday! For those that are fans of Jane Austen and don’t know it, it is a great site and has been a good friend and supporter to my novel A Jane Austen Daydream since its publication.

Over the course of the day, authors and fans have been sharing their insights and feelings towards Ms. Austen with a new post each hour. And for those interested in inspiration, regency, or simply the power of the written word, these entries are a great read. Some are fun, some are very serious, and some are  quite moving. You should check them out by scrolling through the site. Truly, there is something for everyone there.

For me, my entry can be read via this direct linkand it includes a flying DeLorean.

A Jane Austen DaydreamMy own tribute novel to Ms. Austen, A Jane Austen Daydream, can be purchased in print ($13.46) or as an eBook for the outrageously low price of $3.99 for Kindle. You can find it on Amazon here (http://amzn.com/B00CH3HQUU).

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Working The Audience: A Very Useful Writing Trick

On the StageI am a little bit of a helpless romantic.

For those who read my novel A Jane Austen Daydream that is not at all surprising. And before I met my wife I thought of my writing as a gateway to the heart.

I was one of those fools that bought into the lie of the romantic novels and the romantic comedy films. You see this plot twist all the time! That grand gesture that makes a person reconsider another in a different light. Oh, it is a great idea in a story, but we all know, honestly, it goes against how people are wired in the real world.

Short stories with hidden messages (and not so hidden ones), books, and I still squirm to remember the poetry. I have admitted a lot of embarrassing stuff on this site, but this is one of those few memories I still want to crawl into a cave and live out my remaining days because of. Yup, just the hint of it makes me want to become a hermit.

I, Scott Southard, was the creator of bad love poems. And I have sent them, strategically left them around, and even mailed them once anonymously in the hope that it would make another stop and see me as hotter (as some kind of light rock classic kicks on in the background like in a bad movie). In the end it never worked… and, by the way, the recipient of the anonymous love poems didn’t even figure out they were from me until I said something! Ouch!

All those bad memories aside, there is something to be said for the importance of an audience. I’m not just talking about the readers all writers dream to have, I mean that more enigmatic dream of a reader. The one we hope will find our work, the one in the back of our mind that drives the creation forward. They demand the story. What many don’t realize is that dream reader can be a tool, and can help over many different steps in the creative process if used right. Just be sure to leave the poetry at home… Continue reading

Welcome Aboard! 700 Followers Strong…

Star WarsHowdy!

Just a quick dispatch to say greetings and hello to my 700th new blog follower! I’m really honored that so many have decided to follow my little rants (scary sounding)… I mean, editorials (no, that sounds boring)… commentaries here (yeah, let’s go with that one). Every time I get a follower, it means something to me. It really does. It is an honor, plain and simple.

Thank you.

Also, I hope by digging my writing, you will consider checking out my novels. My fiction has always been the driving force in my writing, my passion, and with two new books out they are never far from my mind. Both A Jane Austen Daydream and Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare can be found on amazon in print and eBook. I hope you will check them out soon (here) and maybe even tell a friend… or your book club… or a hundred friends.

Cheers! (And may the force be with you.)

Braving Austen: Introducing My New Novel A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

Me and the proof copy of my book

A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM is published by Madison Street Publishing and can be purchased in print and as an eBook for only $3.99.  It is available for the KindleNook, andKobo.

Jane Austen was one of my two Mount Everests.

The other Mount Everest in my adventures as a writer was Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Yes, I just said Hamlet.

See, I’ve always been obsessed with that play and even attempted over a summer to memorize every line of it (I discussed part of that experience in this comedy essay) and I always had a unique vision for the play (and how many of its famous soliquies could be reinterpreted on stage or on the screen). I decided to focus on a screenplay, and like a swimmer jumping into cold water, over the course of one week (one), I took my decade’s worth of notes, a torn paperback copy, and did it.

Yes, in my house and on my computer is sitting my screenplay adaptation of Hamlet. It is one of my lifetime dreams to see it made, but if it does is anyone’s guess. Whatever the case, I can look back on that mad week (with its large doses of caffeine, twenty hours of nonstop writing, and my mad acting out performance of it) as the literary equivalent of me standing on that snowy slope with flag in hand watching a new dawn.

Hamlet, yeah I did that.

But Austen? Whoa boy… That is when things get tricky. Continue reading

My Adventure in Self-Publishing: Back Covers, Conversions and Timeframe

The final cover by Brina Williamson, http://brinawilliamson.com/

The final cover by Brina Williamson, http://brinawilliamson.com/

An author is always more than an author.

An author creates worlds, gives birth, administers death; in some works many, many times over. They are the judge, the jury, and the attorneys arguing both sides in a case. They are the royalty deciding mercy and the peasants pleading for it. They can be everything for their characters (making all their dreams come true), or more harshly nothing at all. They are the beginning and the end.

But beyond these awesome “god-like” powers, for me, I am also an actor.

An actor?

Well, no not really. I can’t really act at all, but whenever I am in the wonderful position of “locking down” a novel I read the entire work out loud. It’s my secret “hat” I like to wear. Scott the one-man show, and in the performance I “ feel” each character, each line, and each description. For if the voice is right throughout, I know it will feel that way for the reader as well. It is a practice I highly recommend to all writers.

That is where I am right now with the book I am self-publishing, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare.

Watch out Sir Laurence Olivier! Continue reading

While You Wait…

I like to think of life as a theater sometimes. Mainly this is because I had so much experience growing up around the stage since my brother was a young actor and I was dragged along many evenings (sometimes even helping backstage with the crew).

Right now, I have two books waiting in the wings, being prepared for their performances (A Jane Austen Daydream and Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare). So while you wait for their appearances in a few months, why not check out some of the acts ready for the spotlight? I’m extremely proud of both of these books and I think you will enjoy them.

My Problem With Doors

My Problem With DoorsJacob is lost in time. He has been lost since as a toddler he first stepped through a door and ended up in a different land, in a different time. Over the course of the tale, Jacob tells of his struggles growing up in history. From the battlefields of WWI to an Afghanistan terrorist camp to the streets of Jack the Ripper to the estate of Lord Byron to a pirate ship, Jacob explores what it means to be human and if he, with his unique problem, has a purpose, a destiny. Romantic, surprising, and full of adventure, My Problem With Doors is filled with twists and turns.

You can find the book:

  • In print on amazon for $15.95 here.
  • It is available as an eBook (and will work on all devices) via Google Play (here) or on the publisher’s site (here).

You can read a sample from My Problem With Doors here.

Megan

MeganMegan Wane lives in two worlds. In one she is a beloved princess and secret superhero fighting to save her dream-like kingdom of Prosperity from disaster with a magic sword firmly in her grasp; and in the other world Megan is an event planner living in a stale cubicle, lost in the drab of an uninspired 9-to-5 existence. Megan is a story about the line where dreams and tragedy meet and the repercussions of the choices we make in our precious lives.

You can find the book:

  • In print on amazon for $15.95 here.
  • It is available as an eBook (and will work on all devices) via Google Play (here) or on the publisher’s site (here).

You can read a sample from Megan here.

What will you be reading in 2013?

Happy 2013, my loyal and wonderful readers!

Have you enjoyed my editorials on this site and my original fiction here, Permanent Spring Showers and Upon the Ground? As you plan your reading in 2013, why not check out one of my three available books? Below are their descriptions and some links on where you can find them. I hope you will consider checking them out (and did I mention how wonderfully affordable they all are as well?).

My Problem With Doors

Jacob’s life changed in a single moment when, as a toddler, he walked through his bedroom door only to find himself in the office of a British officer in Capetown, 1870. This would begin a thirty-year journey which would take him from ancient to future civilizations, and innumerable places and times in between. Through all of his travels, Jacob seeks for the purpose of his predicament while meeting pirates, poets, loves, and even Jack the Ripper.

My Problem With Doors is available as a paperback (on amazon here), an eBook (on Google Play here) and even as a downloadable audiobook (here).

 Megan

Megan Wane is caught in a life of dull dreariness. She goes to work in a dead end job with a boss she can’t stand, and comes home to a silent apartment with only a standoffish cat for company. She can only get away through her imagination. And there, in her thoughts, there exists a fairy-tale kingdom with wizards and dragons. A place called Prosperity, where she is both a princess and a hero. On this day, both Megan’s external reality and her interior world will suffer tragedy that will turn her life upside down and shake her to the foundation. Can Megan turn disaster into deliverance?

Megan is available as a paperback (on amazon here), an eBook (on Google Play here) and even as a downloadable audiobook (here).

A Jane Austen Daydream

A Jane Austen DaydreamJane Austen thought she knew everything about love, but was there something she wasn’t telling us? A self-confessed dreamer, gossip, and matchmaker, Jane emerges from a prophetic meeting with gypsies and sets out to discover her soul mate. As Jane writes through the twists and turns of her turbulent romances, Southard ponders the question faced by many devoted readers over the years – did she ever find love? What would the story of that love be like if Jane could write it? Binding fact with fiction, courting brace new literary twists, and written in the style of Jane Austen herself, A Jane Austen Daydream is the tale of Jane’s life as a novel. It contemplates the eventual fate of Jane’s heart, and uses her own stories to fill the gaps that history left to the imagination.

A Jane Austen Daydream is available on all major sites in print and eBook including amazon.com (here).

…and thanks for all of your support of my writing over the last year!

This Writer’s New Year Resolutions

1. To be more up-front about my writing and experiences in my blog, but not to come off as whiney or as if I deserve anything from anyone.  The market is far too-congested with writers and luck and “who you know” plays a greater role than anything else on finding success as a writer.

2. To accept being a number three and hope someday to be a number 2… OK, I need to explain this one.

-BREAK FOR EXPLANATION-

In my opinion there are four levels of being a writer in today’s world:

  • Number 1 are those that have a relationship with a big publisher and can actually survive as a writer without needing an additional job.
  • Number 2 are those that have been published once or twice by a big house, but still need to have a day job
  • Number 3 are the small, artistic, indie writers who get published by small, artistic, indie presses, find some small critical success but don’t make much money (if any).
  • Number 4 are the clique of the self-published writers’ world. And yes, it is a clique. Some find success, most don’t… a large majority don’t.

3. Not to look down on the world of the Number 4 anymore. I do it, and even though my first book is out there via iuniverse, I still scorn the idea of being self-published. Sometimes all a writer wants is for their book to be published and at least this is an avenue for that. I need to be more understanding of that, but it can be hard for me to take a work like that as seriously as something from Putnam, for example. I know a lot of educated writers have the same mountain as me to climb about this; so this is me acknowledging the mountain. “Yes, I see the mountain, damn it!”

4. Find some inspiration this year, but not enough to take me away from being a good parent (I have two little ones and I don’t want them to come in second behind a project). I wrote an editorial on Green Spot Blue about this a while ago called “Mush.” Here is the link- http://www.greenspotblue.com/lifenestbabytoy/2010/12/21/mush.html

Hmmm…. It seems a lot of these deal with just be accepting of who I am and not getting down on myself about things.

So what are my hopes for the new year?

Well, I hope to find a publisher for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM. The reaction for it appearing online was very good, and some publishers were initially interested, but everything has been silent since then. I did have one publisher replied and said that it needed to sound more “contemporary” if you can believe it. So a book that was mirroring Jane’s voice sounded too much like Jane, I’m not sure whether to be insulted or happy by that. While I would love a big house, I would be happy with a small press and the capability of it be in ebook format.

Ipublish Press which published MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS and MEGAN said they are trying to get the ebooks out on Google Ebooks this year. I really want that to happen… Which is funny since I have no desire to own a kindle or read an ebook. I actually had a friend since me a copy of her book as an ebook a while ag0 and I have guiltly yet to look at it ( I’m really sorry, Emlyn Chand. I will read FARSIGHTED soon, I swear).  Is it an anti Kindle/ebook thing? I don’t know.  It’s just reading a book on a screen takes something away for me.

And then there are the screenplays… I still dream of them being made, but the days of wanting to be the next Woody Allen are long gone. I have three scripts I really want to see made- CHRISTMAS DREAMING, THE SISTER MOON, and my adaptation of HAMLET (Which is always a debate for me whether it is the best thing I will ever do, or just one of them). But I do have others (4 others to be honest)… And there is a part of me that would like to write a new screenplay, but like with my books it is hard to be inspired when you think a work might join the pile of material sitting in my chest at the end of my bed. I need to feel like it will breath later. I have quite a few works already to feel guilty about just sitting around…. But seeing one of them that I wrote on the screen would be a dream…

Finally, I hope to survive the Mayan Death Day…

… Ok, that last one was a joke.

Hopefully.

Definitely, I mean nothing bad is going to happen.

Of course, if it does and I don’t plan, I’m going to regret it.

Argh.